The importance of forage analysis

To be able to provide your horse with a balanced diet its important to know the baseline analysis of your forage upon which a total diet can be formulated according to the health and exercise regime of your horse.

Forage is the mainstay of any diet with an average 500kg horse requiring between 9kg and 16kg of hay or haylage per day depending on level of work.

Digestible energy values will inform the amount to feed for effective weight management for both good and poor doers. This is particularly useful for horses prone to laminitis, older horses, good doers and performance horses in moderate to hard work.

Protein levels are reported so that correct levels can be provided in the diet especially where good doers and horses prone to laminitis are fed restricted amounts to maintain and control weight. Horses on restricted amounts due to being laminitis prone would need to have protein supplemented for a good range of amino acids being available.

ESC and starch levels are reported which is relevant for horses and ponies prone to laminitis (as fed combined level – hay 6.9% haylage 7.5%). Research has shown that it is the simple sugars (ESC) and starch combined which triggers insulin peaks which contribute to the development of laminitis in horses and ponies. Keeping the combined ESC and starch level under 10% will prevent insulin peaks and is an effective management strategy for horses and ponies prone to laminitis.

Known mineral levels for all major and trace elements allowing accurate balancing for optimum health. This includes addressing both the NRC recommended daily amounts and balancing the ratios of antagonist minerals such as iron and manganese which block the uptake of crucial minerals such copper and zinc.

The following tables are a guide for an average 500 kg horse:

Hay

Work level DE (MJ/kg) Forage (kg)
Maintenance level 69.9 8.9
Light level 83.7 10.7
Moderate level 97.6 12.5
Heavy level 111.4 14.2

Haylage

Work level DE (MJ/kg) Forage (kg)
Maintenance level 69.9 10.1
Light level 83.7 12.1
Moderate level 97.6 14.1
Heavy level 111.4 16.1

You can now buy Old Manor 20kg haylage packs online – they are available as half pallets or full pallets